It’s So Nice to Fool Mother Nature!

One of the glories of my garden right now is my ‘Blue Chiffon’ rose of sharon. The plant’s flowers have a frilly center that qualifies them as “double” (a status much valued in the gardening community). I also love their bluish color, which is further enhanced by where I’m growing them. I grow mine near some coneflowers. Now, when you hear mention of the latter, you probably think of purple coneflower; but mine are orangey. Color theory tells us that blue and orange are contrasting colors. Maybe that’s why this particular patch of the garden is really catching my eye these days.

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J. Sterling Morton 2011 Winner

2011 National Arbor Day Awards

J. Sterling Morton Award Dr. Anne Hallum

Anne Hallum of the Alliance for International Reforestation (A.I.R) in DeLand, Fla., was presented with the J. Sterling Morton Award, the highest honor given by the Arbor Day Foundation. Hallum founded her nonprofit organization to help people in Guatemala by establishing a better, more sustainable quality of life through tree-planting. The Morton Award is named after J. Sterling Morton, who founded Arbor Day in 1872. Under Hallum’s direction and guidance, the Alliance for International Reforestation has been educating residents in Guatemala and Nicaragua since 1993, working with 25 to 30 villages at a time, each for a period of five years. The staff (all native residents) educates indigenous volunteers about proper tree-planting and agroforestry that will provide sustainable farming as well as protection from frequent and dangerous mudslides. Through proper tree-planting, mountainside erosion is controlled and mudslides are avoided during the harshest of storms. The native trees planted by local volunteers and farmers help preserve important forests, which have a tremendous impact on the villages. These trees improve nutrition for people and livestock, provide animal habitat, clean the air, protect local water, supply firewood, shade homes and fertilize crops. A.I.R. has worked with more than 110 villages in rural Guatemala and Nicaragua, adding more than 3.7 million trees to the region’s rain forest.

View Award Video for Dr. Anne Hallum 

2011 Arbor Day Award Winners

The day after National Arbor Day our annual Arbor Day awards banquet takes place.   The National Arbor Day Awards are a chance to highlight people across the world that are making a difference through trees.  For the next few weeks we are going to take an in-depth look at the 2011 Award Winners. 

But first I wanted to share with all of you the opening remarks from the founder and CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation, John Rosenow.   

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”

I think Emerson was speaking of the power of intention.  The good people we honor tonight, these Arbor Day Award winners, clearly made their decisions, and sent their intentions out to the universe — backed up with large doses of hard work and collaboration and love.

The results have included the planting of thousands and thousands and thousands of trees—and the triumph of the human spirit.

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Which late-blooming trees and shrubs suit your garden?

Having a garden that provides year-round interest is easy with some careful planning. For the best results, carefully choose your trees and shrubs so that some flower in early spring, others in late spring/summer, and yet others that flower in the fall or carry their blooms through the winter. This will ensure plenty of activity in your garden from birds and wildlife, as well as giving your landscape a variety of colors and shapes. Following are three late-blooming trees and shrubs that are easy to grow and will brighten up your lawn or street.

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Trees, the 800-Lb. Gorillas in the Yard

Don’t get me wrong, I love trees. I’ve never actually been caught in the act of hugging any, to be sure. But neither will you ever catch me with a yard without trees. I just couldn’t imagine warming up to a landscape without them. The importance of the vertical element they supply in landscape design is not to be underestimated.

But now that I’ve established my credentials as a lover of trees, let me state what I really set out to say when I sat down to write this blog post today. Large trees, as indispensable as they are, pose an awfully difficult challenge in landscaping — unless that’s all you wish to grow in your yard. Read More

Difference between Full Sun, Partial Sun, and Full Shade

One of the keys to Tree Care is planting the right tree in the right place.  The right tree in the right place can fall into many categories ranging from not planting tall trees under power lines to planting a tree that needs full shade in a full shade area.

I learned this lesson the hard way last summer.  I planted a Japanese Red Maple Tree in my wild flower garden. 

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Happy Arbor Day 2011

Friday is National Arbor Day.  Although many states such as California, Maryland, Missouri, and Oregon have already celebrated Arbor Day, today is the nationally recognized tree planting holiday of Arbor Day. The original Arbor Day was celebrated April 10th, 1872 in Nebraska.  A day where an estimated 1 million trees were planted by individuals and counties in Nebraska.

I am curious what are you doing this Arbor Day to continue this 140 year old tradition? 

Adding Trees and Shrubs to your Garden

Gardening has been a hot topic around my house lately.  The past few summers my wife has been interested in creating a garden but the timing has never been right.  This summer she is determined to make it happen. 

We recently sold our house and purchased a new house, allowing her to fully commit to creating the garden.  She recently order vegetable seeds and is starting to make plans on the location of the raised planter bed in the new backyard.  I reminded her that in addition to the traditional vegetable garden crops that we could add some edible trees and shrubs.  The strong benefit of trees and shrubs besides providing a new source of “groceries” is that we only need to plant them once compared to some vegetables. 

There are many choices that we can make but was reminded by one of her magazines to plant what you will eat.  That narrows down our choices since we are both picky eaters. 

In the end we agreed that we are going to explore finding a space an apple tree

Any suggestions on other fruit trees or nut trees we should add?  We have limited space in our new backyard.

The Bradford Pear: Is It The Right Tree For You?

The Bradford Pear, Pyrus Calleryana, is native to Korea and China but gained popularity as an ornamental tree here in the US since the 1960s. Recently, however, the popularity of the Bradford Pear has been on the wane due to its structural weakness and subsequent splitting. Knowing about the advantages and disadvantages of the Bradford Pear will help you to decide if it is the right tree for you, or if you would be better off choosing another ornamental species.

  The Bradford Pear is Not For You If…

  • You mind the somewhat rank odor of the flowers and the mess the fruit makes
  • You are looking for a strong tree that lasts years and years. The Bradford Pear suffers from a weak structure that causes the tree to split if laden with snow or beaten by the wind.
  • You are looking for a tree with a deep root system. The Bradford Pear has very shallow roots and grows suckers that need taming regularly.

The Bradford Pear is For You if….

  • You want a fast growing tree that flowers early in spring
  • You are looking for rich autumn color (reds) and white spring blossoms
  • You want to attract birds to nest in the tree and eat the fruit
  • You are prepared to prune carefully to make up for the weak structure

Popular Alternatives to the Bradford Pear

The Japanese Zelkova is another colorful tree that will complement your property. It is very tolerant to wind, drought and air pollution and provides a good amount of shade. It is great as a yard or street tree due to its attractive vase-like profile and can double its height in 4-6 years.

The Red Maple will bring year-round red color to your yard and display deep scarlet leaves in the fall. Also a fast-growing tree, it can grow anywhere and provides a good amount of shade. The Red Maple is a popular landscape tree which produces flower and fruit in the spring before most other species.

The Chinese Pistache is a popular ornamental tree that is very long-lasting and has a very hard wood. It is deep rooted, drought-resistant and, very importantly, disease and insect-free. It grows 2-3 feet a year into a medium-sized shady tree with spectacular fall colors.

3 Little Giants

Some plants classified by the experts as “shrubs” are often thought of as “trees” by the general populace. And while the experts employ technical definitions to make the distinction, even they admit that there are exceptions to the rules that they come up with, rendering their definitions less than completely satisfying.

Further clouding the issue is the age-old debate of whether we should classify something according to its intrinsic qualities or how it is used by humans. The uses for a landscape plant such as rose of sharon include mass usage in a hedge to form a privacy screen and individual usage as a specimen plant.

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The Arbor Day Foundation